In the last few years, businesses have been supplementing traditional backup and recovery with disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). With DRaaS, servers and applications are replicated at a remote site that’s owned and maintained by a cloud service provider. The replicated environment can be used in an emergency if there’s a disruption to the production environment. DRaaS eliminates the infrastructure costs and maintenance responsibilities associated with owning a secondary datacenter.
How DRaaS helps reduce cost
IT departments everywhere are looking to stretch their budgets further and get more value out of their investments. This has led to a shift in spending from capital expenditures (capex) to operational expenditures (opex). With DRaaS, businesses can enjoy the benefits of highly resilient IT without owning the hardware or being responsible for maintenance. It can also alleviate IT teams from having to keep disaster recovery expertise on staff, depending on the level of managed services offered by the vendor.
Fully managed DRaaS offerings, like Carbonite® Managed Disaster Recovery, allows any business, regardless of size or overall data footprint, to deploy a secondary instance of a server workload or application in the cloud for disaster scenarios. Once a pre-established threshold is met, all traffic is immediately rerouted to the secondary environment until the underlying issue in is resolved. This significantly reduces the impact of the disruption and the subsequent cost of a downtime event. It also alleviates the burden on IT departments to retain in-house DR personnel just for disaster scenarios. Carbonite Managed Disaster Recovery enables IT decision-makers to ensure high levels of uptime for critical applications at a far lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than traditional deployments.
Several reports from analyst firms like Gartner, Forrester and Aberdeen highlight the escalating cost of downtime for today’s businesses. According to many estimates, an hour downtime can cost tens of thousands of dollars for small businesses and midsize businesses, and hundreds of thousands for large enterprises. Reputation damage is harder to estimate but no doubt real and costly. The high cost of downtime combined with the changing economics in storage and the growth of public cloud offerings have made DRaaS attractive for all organizations, from large enterprises down to small businesses.
Improved recovery performance
Replication technology can affect the speed of recovery and the potential for data loss. With traditional backup, network bandwidth is a huge factor in determining the frequency and time of day for scheduling backups. In an effort to eliminate disruptions to normal network traffic, IT typically schedules backups for evening hours. A backup schedule of once per evening results in potential loss of 24 hours of data. This is often more data than a business can tolerate, especially for mission-critical applications.
The type of replication typically found with DRaaS can reduce or eliminate the need for backup scheduling. Since DRaaS sends data continuously (at the byte level with Carbonite® Recover), the amount of data traveling over the wire is much smaller, which reduces the impact on the network. Minimizing the amount of data traveling over the wire enables businesses to reduce the potential for data loss down to the time it takes for data to transmit. With DRaaS, a business can conceivably reduce its recovery point objective (or how much data it can tolerate losing) down to seconds.
While byte-level replication is key for achieving ultra-low RPO and RTO, snapshots are still important for preserving clean backup data in the event of a virus or device corruption. If a ransomware virus ever penetrates the network, it’s important to have a clean point in time to return to without having to pay a bounty. For this reason, historical backups are still an essential component in a data protection strategy.
Don’t leave legacy platforms behind
Just because organizations are modernizing at a rapid rate doesn’t mean they’re abandoning their iSeries and AIX platforms entirely. In fact, the more common use case is to have a combination of modern and legacy systems operating side-by-side in a single, heterogeneous environment. Not all DRaaS vendors support legacy systems, but for businesses that rely on IBM Power platforms, like iSeries and AIX, support for these systems is critical.
Using DRaaS to modernize
In addition to cost savings and IT productivity, DRaaS also has the potential to help organizations modernize their infrastructure gradually with less risk to the business. A DRaaS solution provides an easy way to move a production workload to the cloud. Once that instance is deployed, it can act as a sandbox to help IT determine how application updates may affect interoperability before rolling out the update in production. If there are hiccups once the update is rolled out, the cloud instance is there as a safety net. The same holds true for hardware updates. With DRaaS, IT organizations can eliminate the typical downtime associated with integrating new servers into production. Many organizations are deciding they’re better off running certain applications in the cloud. This often involves a “lift and shift” operation for moving the application and data to the cloud and then mapping users to the new instance. DRaaS already performs many of these functions in the normal course of configuring and testing the solution. For any organization considering transitioning to infrastructure as a service (IaaS), DRaaS can act as a stepping stone to full virtualization.
Smart and strategic data protection
The methods and technologies that allow IT organizations to protect their investments have evolved to offer more levels of protection with far easier implementation and much faster time-to-protection. While DRaaS was once a high-maintenance and prohibitively expensive proposition, this is no longer the case.
The emergence of inexpensive storage combined with new data protection solutions and options changes the way IT decision-makers think about backup. It’s now far easier and more cost effective to ensure high availability for critical applications through DRaaS while protecting secondary and archival systems through traditional backup. This explains recent trends indicating a greater utilization of DRaaS and the strategic use of backup as part of a holistic cyber resilience strategy.
Carbonite offers self-service DRaaS with Carbonite® Recover and fully managed DRaaS with Carbonite® Managed Disaster Recovery. To talk to one of our DRaaS experts, call 1-877-901-3282 or request a demo.